APNewsBreak: Boston says Wynn reps knew of mob associate's ties to land for planned casino

Industries Associated Press

Recently discovered interviews with at least five people show that Wynn Resorts knew that a mob associate with felony convictions would profit from his stake in the waterfront land where the Las Vegas casino giant plans to build a resort, the city of Boston argued in its latest court filings.

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Boston, which is suing the state Gaming Commission over its decision to award Wynn a gambling license, says the witnesses told commission investigators that Wynn representatives were informed of or discussed Charles Lightbody's ownership stake before signing an option on roughly 30 acres on the Everett waterfront across from Boston.

The city argues that existence of the testimony is critical in its civil lawsuit because it casts a cloud over the commission's vetting of the Wynn application.

Among those testifying were Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria and Stephen Tocco, a former state secretary of economic affairs who now heads ML Strategies, a political consultancy firm hired by Wynn, according to the court filing.

"A fair and reasonable inference to be drawn from Tocco's testimony is that Mayor DeMaria knew that Lightbody was an owner of the former Monsanto Chemical Site and a convicted felon, which he communicated directly to Tocco, a long-term, authorized representative of Wynn," the city says in the legal brief.

Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver maintains the company first learned about Lightbody's ties to the property from the gaming commission investigation. The commission, DeMaria and Tocco did not immediately comment Monday.

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The interviews were included in roughly 1,000 pages of materials Boston filed late last week as the city argued for casting a wider net for gathering evidence in the civil lawsuit.

But Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders struck the filings — a 25-page brief followed by over 800 pages of appendices — from the court record Thursday because they had been submitted just hours before a hearing in the case. The city subsequently released the materials to the Associated Press.

Boston alleges commission investigators failed to transcribe Tocco and DeMaria's recorded interviews as they had done for other interviews and "consciously omitted" them from the extensive background check report they completed into the key players in the $1.7 billion resort casino project.

The testimony was also not included in the administrative record the commission has so far compiled for the court in Boston's civil lawsuit, the city says.

DeMaria and Tocco's testimony was a focus of legal filings earlier this month in the criminal case against Lightbody and two other former owners of the Everett land — Dustin DeNunzio and Anthony Gattineri.

The three face federal wire fraud charges for allegedly trying to conceal the fact that Lightbody would profit from the multimillion-dollar land deal in violation of the state's casino law, which prohibits criminals from profiting from gambling facilities.

Boston and two other area cities — Revere and Somerville — have sued the gaming commission following last year's decision to award Wynn a casino license over rival Mohegan Sun, which proposed a project nearby in Revere.

The cities, in their separate lawsuits, accuse the commission and Wynn of misconduct that severely compromised the competition for the state's most lucrative regional casino license, which is centered around the Boston-area.

Among Boston's numerous allegations is that the commission attempted to "salvage" Wynn's qualification in the license competition by "mischaracterizing" evidence its investigators uncovered during the critical background check phase, especially around Wynn's knowledge of Lightbody's role in the land deal.